This issue has come up because of a Pathfinder Society scenario, but it's a general rules question. In the scenario (I'll leave out which one for spoiler reasons) a bad guy's tactics say "he grabs a slave as a human shield". During the combat, he remains "within reach of his slaves to act as unwilling shields."
The concern of maintaining a grapple aside (I'm assuming the slaves would not resist), what are the effects of a "human shield"? I have found no reference to this tactic anywhere after searching the online SRD and the forums here. I would guess some sort of cover, but you normally don't have to deal with the possibility of cover taking damage.
Anyone have any idea how this is handled? If it were a home game I'd just make something up and move on, but this is for PFS, and I want to make sure I'm following the rules as much as possible.
Benchak the Nightstalker wrote:
I played this as an Andoran in Feb and failed my faction mission. I'm GMing this scenario soon and was looking forward to reading the scenario and finding out what I had done wrong. I'm disappointed to find that I was actually operating on false information.
In the game I played, I attempted to make contact with the raiders in the first encounter, because they matched the description of Mutabi-qi. When they attacked, the opportunity to talk seemed lost. I had assumed that I had gone about it in the wrong way. I gave up on the mission because there were no more contacts with the Mutabi-qi! I have to emphasize that. The rest of the game passed without any more contact with Mutabi-qi.
I was pivotal in the party's success with the Jhemulit, but I didn't pursue my faction mission because there was nothing to indicate that the Jhemulit are Mutabi-qi. In fact the only clue in the entire scenario that this is not the case are the mission notes at the end of the act that indicate Andorans can complete their mission there.
You state that "Mutabi-qi is the generic name for the nomadic tribes of Shaguang," but the scenario doesn't make that clear. My GM either wasn't clear about it either or just neglected to make it clear to us. I don't mind when I fail because of a bad roll or even when I don't recognize my opportunity. But to have failed because the scenario write-up misled me makes me steam a bit.
I realize this sounds like sour grapes, and maybe it is, but I had no problems with the failed mission until I discovered *why* I had failed it.
Ok, I read that link until it devolved into a flame war, but there wasn't much there to assist me. The concept here isn't to attach the bear trap to another weapon, which is what that thread pretty much concerned itself with. It's to modify the bear trap so that it is a weapon all by itself. I think the idea isn't as particularly far-fetched as attaching one to the end of a hammer. And the player isn't a munchkin or cheese-monkey or whatever term is in vogue nowadays. He just had a humorous idea that I'm letting him run with.
I just thought I'd collect some thoughts on adjudicating the thing. I don't want to deny it outright because the idea isn't completely outlandish, and it would be fairly simple to construct once the idea had occurred. I also enjoy figuring out how to deal with crazy ideas.
The problem with most crazy ideas that players come up with is that they rarely think of the downside. They only think of the totally awesome cool thing they're going to do. Then I slap them with a good dose of rule mechanics reality. In general I allow a player to try anything they want to do. Then I follow it with the die rolls they need, the money they need to spend, and the restrictions and disadvantages of the idea. If they still want to do it, more power to them. This is the fodder from which good stories are made.
Well, that turned into a rant. Sorry about that.
I have a, let's say "creative", player in my regular game. He has commissioned a blacksmith to make him a bear trap with a handle attached so he can use it as a melee weapon. The idea being that he holds onto the handle, and thrusts it at an opponent so that it snaps closed. Then presumably he has the opponent grappled as long as he holds on to it. He even planned a safety catch so he can carry the thing without it going off accidentally.
While I'm not against the idea (I think it's hilarious) I want to be prepared to rule on how this thing will work in game.
I'm contemplating the following rules:- It requires a full round action to set the trap.
- Unless he takes the feat Exotic Weapon Proficiency[Beartrap] he'll take the -4 non-proficiency penalty to his attack.
- The attack will be against Touch AC
- After he successfully makes his attack, the beartrap has to make its own attack. i.e. his thrusting it against a creature springs the trap as if the creature had stepped into it on the ground initiating an attack roll.
- If the trap's attack is successful, the damage is done, and the trap is attached to the creature. Both the creature and the wielder gain the grappled condition with the wielder being the grappler.
- The creature can attempt to make one of the checks to escape the trap, or can make a CMB check to escape the grapple with the wielder.
- If the wielder escapes the grapple, he still has he grappled condition until he escapes the trap.
- The bear trap grants a +2 bonus to anyone attempting to grapple the creature as long as it remain attached.
Have I missed anything? Any suggestions?
I've killed PCs before, had TPK's even, but never in a living game. I feel bad but it was really inevitable. I was running Tide of Twilight for four 1st and 2nd level characters. I warned them that there was a real chance of someone, possibly everyone dying. The final two encounters are very challenging, and the characters were not heavy on combat skills. To top it off, the usual meat shield, a barbarian was not present.
So despite the warning, and despite these being experienced players (though new to PFS) they made some rookie mistakes and failed the scenario's primary mission. Two of them died, two were stricken with the scenario's transformation curse, though they were able to pay for it's removal and thus remain playable characters.
The first PC died during the very first encounter in Wispil. Should never have happened, but the player wasn't thinking and ended up unconscious on the ground as the fire spread over him. No other PC was in a position to even know about his predicament, much less help. He finished the game with a pre-gen.
Upon reading the encounters with the twigjack, I knew they would be in trouble. A 4d6 cone attack and the (limited) dimension door as part of a move action? Just brutal. No one died there, but two PC's dropped and had to be revived. During this encounter, one of the players, again not thinking, ran ahead and smacked right into the druids, each waiting with produce flame ready to go. (Jokes about Han Solo chasing the stormtrooper on the Death Star were told.) He dropped right there.
Matthew Morris wrote:
Yeah, I read off the description of the St. Andrew's cross before I caught what it was. I did have fun with the over the top flirtiness and Paladin taunting though.
That cross became important in the game I ran. My players didn't recognize the significance of the silver letter opener, so they decided that grappling the imp was the best strategy (it probably was). Once they had him, they strapped him down to the cross. Then they just walked out with the McGuffin while he cursed at them. :)
Well, encounter difficulty aside, my main concern at the moment is the consequences of the PCs failure. What happens when a PC dies is well documented, but there is nothing about PCs being robbed blind. It seems straight forward to simply make them buy equipment all over again, but it just feels strange to fill in the Items Bought section of the chronicle with everything from a backpack on up.
I'd also like to note the difference in player reaction between the two events.
Matthew Starch wrote:
I'm with you on that. In my case, both groups were bottle-necked into a 10' wide section of the alley and the NPCs were unable to act as their tactics sections outlines. The two melee opponents were in front and beat the snot out of the PC's front line in the surprise round. The obscuring mist prevented the two casters from doing anything. The TPK was the result of the ambush advantage coupled with the PCs not having a channeling healer. They just couldn't handle the damage that was dealt to them. A wider alley would have allowed the NPCs to use their tactics as written and it would have been that much worse.
Joseph Caubo wrote:
Another good thought.
getting tired of spoiler tags now:
The final encounter is a hit and run in a public place. They probably won't take the time to thoroughly strip the PCs. Grabbing weapons, packs, and pouches is probably all they would take the time to do. My original thought of them taking everything, including armor is probably unrealistic. The map was actually stuffed down the front of the PCs shirt (roleplayed as a woman hiding something in her cleavage) and probably would not have been taken. I'm beginning to lean toward the loss of items that could be quickly snatched, and dropping the problem of the map so they would get the reward.
Dan Luckett wrote:
This happened with my group as well. I did not kill anyone, and ruled they found the Paracountesses item, got googly eyed and bolted leaving the otherwise inexpensive beginning gear. I ruled that the Osirian was a pass fail, and the only part they failed was the paracountess. Thus as written, they passed.
I can see why you ruled in that way. The assignment in the player handout specifies,
more plot details:
"retrieve the item in her possession." And the in text of the scenario the paracountess advises, "not trying to tamper with the case when bringing it back to the Grand Lodge." So in that case they failed to get the McGuffin back to where they were supposed to. However, in my case, the PC that got away had the box on him, so the thieves didn't get it.
The assignment for the Osirion says, "the Pathfinder Society needs to obtain permission to delve the Salhar ancestral vaults." Which they successfully did. It further states, "you will receive an official charter and detailed map." But that seems an afterthought, an incidental of the actual goal. So your pass/fail attitude has some merit.
So my I ran my first PFS home game, and while everyone had a great time, the final encounter went against them. All but one PC went down, and the final guy ran for it. Everyone in the group is an experienced player so there are no hard feelings, but I have two questions.
Some plot details within:
Since the gang's objective was robbery, not murder, I didn't coup-de-grace anyone and everyone stabilized, so there were no deaths. But they did strip the PCs of everything. Do I now tell the players they have actually lost all their gear, and force them to buy all their equipment again? This was my original thought, but when I started to fill out the chronicles, I started second guessing myself. There is nothing written about what occurs if the outlaws win, so it's a judgment call. This is a serious setback for 1st level characters on their first outing. I'd appreciate some other opinions.
And secondly, Act 3 of the scenario requires the group to retrieve a map from an Osirion nobleman, which they did. But the map was on one of the characters that fell at the end, so it was stolen along with that character's gear. They got the map but failed to return with it to the Grand Lodge. The RAW (Reward As Written) says "If the PCs retrieve the map of the Salhar family vaults, give each PC 82 gp."
I see this in two possible lights. First, the task was to simply pass the nobleman's test and retrieve the map thus securing his permission for the PS to explore his family's vaults. So they were successful and should get the reward. On the other hand, they lost the map so the PS no longer has it to use when exploring the vaults. So in that sense, they failed and should not get the reward.
Nothing in the scenario actually says "return the map to us" or anything similar. It only ever says "retrieve the map". So should I reward them or not?